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​Dentists slam officials for dubbing chaos at Capita as mere 'teething troubles'

7 March 2017

The British Dental Association has slammed comments from NHS England dismissively presenting problems at subcontractor Capita - that have left hundreds of NHS dentists unable to work - as mere 'teething' issues.

NHS dentists have had to wait – in some cases for up to a year – to get the 'National Performer Number' required to provide NHS services. Administration of the National Performers List used to be managed by NHS England, but was contracted out to Capita alongside other Primary Care Support services in September 2015. Before Capita won the contract and qualified staff were made redundant, the average application turnaround time was approximately six weeks.

The BDA is now aware of practitioners unable to meet mortgage repayments, taking out loans or turning to non-clinical work simply to pay the bills. The inability to recruit staff has left hundreds of thousands of patients without access to an NHS dentist, and some practices at risk of closure.

In their statement NHS England also disclosed it had secured £30 million in savings through use of the troubled subcontractor. The BDA will be using this evidence to make its case for compensation.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, the BDA's chair of General Dental Practice said:

"It's exceptionally poor judgement from NHS England to fall back on bad jokes about 'teething troubles' at Capita when hundreds of NHS dentists have been forced out of work, many left unable to provide for themselves and their families.

"Outsourcing has created this needless backlog. These £30 million 'savings' have resulted in poorer service that has left patients without access to NHS dentistry, and all those who have lost out should be adequately compensated."

The BDA is encouraging dentists to write to their MP to ask them to sign a parliamentary motion on the issue.

About the BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is the voice of dentists and dental students in the UK. We bring dentists together, support our members through advice and education, and represent their interests. As a trade union and professional body, we represent all fields of dentistry including general practice, community dental services, the armed forces, hospitals, academia, public health and research. We are owned and run by our members and all our income is reinvested for the benefit of the profession.

For further information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.